Update on OpenMRS, Inc.

Hi all,

Some of you might have been aware of some clerical issues we were dealing with as part of our routine care and feeding of OpenMRS, Inc.

I just wanted to write to let folks know that those issues are now totally resolved, and the organization is now back to its normal status. Thanks to everyone for their help on this. :slight_smile:


So we’re now 501©(3) again?

If that’s true, that’s wonderful!!!


Yes, that’s right @r0bby. All back to normal.


this is great :slight_smile:

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Woohoo! This is great news!

Great! Thanks for the update

Although the nonprofit status of OpenMRS was reinstated on 9/8/2016 and is retroactive to the date of revocation, this update will not be found on a search of the IRS website for at least 8 weeks, according to an IRS representative I spoke with this morning. Updates to that system will take that long.

Meanwhile, the fine print on the IRS website acknowledges that the listed information is historical: “The information is not necessarily current as of today’s date. Nor does this automatic revocation necessarily reflect the organization’s tax-exempt or non-exempt status. The organization may have applied to the IRS for recognition of exemption and been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt after its effective date of automatic revocation.”


Thanks for the clarification, Michael.

I share your understanding that the IRS conveyed their reinstatement of our status in a letter dated Sept 8. Their letter clearly stated that we are a “public charity” under 501©(3), and that the effective date is retroactive, meaning that our non-profit status is intact and uninterrupted since it was first granted in 2014.

Thanks to those who saw through this important, but tedious (!), administrative process. There’s little glory in this work, but it’s critical to the organization.

Wonderful if it only takes 8 weeks for the IRS to flip the switch on their status web site!

I think this is a very important clarification Michael and Bill, thanks. I think I would point out that at least my experience is that we a provided a “public charity” designation until we properly document that indeed our contributions are public. I think we have 5 years (from the original designation) to prove that our funding comes from public sources and not private foundations. Since we primarily have had funding from a private foundation, we need to be careful to fundraise from public sources (including government) so that we maintain public charity rather than private charity status.

Andy’s point seem very important. Reading the summary here:


It “feels” like OpenMRS is clearly a public charity, but do we meet the following criteria:

“Others must prove that they are publicly supported, which generally means they must be able to show they receive at least one-third of their support from contributions, membership fees, or gross receipts from activities related to their exempt functions.”

Looks like there are more details here, but I’ve only skimmed them (and not enough to make any conclusions… )


Take care, Mark

Thanks for raising this issue and highlighting the importance of recognizing obligations within our exempt designation. Our public charity status is classified as Type I supporting organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 509(a)(3). As a supporting organization, we will need to pass an organizational test, an operational test, a control test, and a relationship test – as specified by the IRS.

I don’t think we are a supporting organization, I believe that designation was changed when we first had problems applying for the status. I believe we are a 501©(3) Regards


Hi, Hamish.

I’ve attached the letter of determination, which states that “Organizations exempt under IRS Section 501©(3) are further classified as either public charities or private foundations. We determined you’re a public charity under [509(a)(3)]… Specifically… a Type I supporting organization… operated, supervised, or controlled by one or more publicly supported charities.”

I’m a bit confused by this last phrase. What publicly supported charity operates, supervises, or controls OpenMRS Inc?


IRS letter of determination OpenMRS.pdf (71.4 KB)

This seems like a very important clarification and we need to ensure that our bylaws are consistent with our designation and we have all the processes in place to support them. PIH and Regenstrief might be public charities, but I was also under the impression we did not ultimately file under the supporting organization designation.

Better get this clarified on our side or theirs (IRS) asap. Andy Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH FACMI

Asst. Prof. of Clinical Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology Columbia University Email: andrew.kanter@■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ Mobile: +1 (646) ■■■■■■■■ Office: +1 (212) ■■■■■■■■ Skype: akanter-ippnw Yahoo: andy_kanter


Reading this:


“A supporting organization must be organized exclusively for the benefit of, to perform the functions of, or to carry out the purposes of one or more specified 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) organizations. The organization’s articles must state the specified publicly supported organization(s) on whose behalf the supporting organization is to be operated. The articles of a Type I or II supporting organization may designate its supported organization(s) by class or purpose. The articles of a Type III supporting organization may not.”

So what is the “one or more specified 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) organizations”? Regenstrief? Or are there perhaps two “OpenMRS” organizations organized this way for some reason?


Humm, well that does seem to be confusing. Paul can you clarify this point? I understood that they rejected us as a supporting organization? If not then IU and PIH are still connected to OpenMRS.

Michael a supporting organization provides support to other non-profits and we originally proposed the two main founding orgs of OpenMRS where we worked. It is a type of non profit that has however come in for a lot of problems with the IRS in the recent past. Regards